Paisley is a town near Glasgow, in the southwest of Scotland, which became famous in the late 1800 for the production of colourful patterned shawls, characterized by a swirled pattern of abstract curved shapes. A pattern that nowadays is indeed known as Paisley.
However, if we think about this fashion trend, we recall neither Glasgow nor Scotland.
What we think about is Italy, and in particular, a fashion brand which has produced the most refined and sophisticated paisley ever: Etro.
From Milan to Tokyo: the history of a brand
Gerolamo Etro, called by friends and family Gimmo, was a fashion and travels lover. He studied economy so that he could transform his passions into a living: he succeeded in such an aim and in 1968 he founded his high fashion trend, Etro. Although keeping the refined and traditional Italian fabrics and materials, Etro added something new: a hint of contemporary scent that dared with colours and mixtures.
Etro’s first boutique opened in Milan, in an ancient via Spartaco’s building, which soon needed to be refurbished in order to welcome its team of creative and entrepreneurial minds.
The true brand revolution happened in 1981, when Gerolamo travelled to India to find inspiration. When he came back to via Spartaco, he introduced the pattern that would become the brand’s most distinguishable feature: paisley.
The maison soon created fabrics and clothes able to make that pattern stand out: they were immediately appreciated by both the public and the critics, which described them as elegant, swirling patterns.
Etro’s popularity was about to burst.
It detached itself from the mere man and women fashion and soon opened other branches which included Home Collection and Fragrances.
Flagship stores and high-trend boutiques opened in the most sophisticated districts of the cities: Paris, New York, Tokyo, Vienna and London were soon overwhelmed by the refined taste of the brand.
A matter of family: the reason behind Etro’s success
What makes Etro so unique? Apart from the minute choice of materials, of colours and of shapes, there’s another detail that has allowed the brand to keep its values intact.
Etro is a family-run industry: nobody, but Gerolamo’s sons, could hand down their father’s love for fashion and design.
Gerolamo’s three sons and one daughter are running Etro today. All their lives long, they have experienced their father’s genius and they have lived according to his values. And when their moment arrived, they knew they were ready to step in.
Kean Etro is the creative director of the Men collections: he too loves travelling and, as his father used to do, he gets inspired by different cultures and traditions.
His sister, Veronica, is the creative director of the Women side of the brand: she has presented her first collection in 2000 and it was highly appreciated.
Jacopo takes care of the brand’s Home Collection and he’s chief of communication. In 2010, he was appointed as advisor of the prestigious authority National Chamber of Italian Fashion.
Ippolito is the last one who followed the family’s tradition and is today general director. His first statement, reported in The New York Times, was: “My father always told us that we could do what we wanted in life. But he said, ‘If you work here, you have to start from scratch “.
The Circle of Poets
And they have started from scratch indeed. Don’t get us wrong: it’s not like they had to buy machineries and re-launch a new brand.
But they have created something new, something Gimmo would have been proud of.
It’s called the Circle of Poets and it was inaugurated on March, 9 in the via Montenapoleone boutique. The Circle of Poets is exactly what you think of by reading its name: an association of young artists that are willing to make their art communicate with fashion. Eleven “poets” have been selected through a modern scavenger hunt, organized on Instagram. They all have different specializations: there’s a tattoo artist, a painter, a poet and much more.
The boutique has exposed their works and has therefore become a true art gallery.
The best part is that the Club’s admissions are not over: if you think you have a je ne sais pas and you want to raise Etro’s attention, just look at their website and… cross your fingers!
Credits photos: via Etro Facebook Page
Etro website: www.etro.com